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Tag: Sir Simon Rattle

Berliner Philharmoniker – Simon Rattle conducts “Götterdämmerung” at the Aix-en-Provence Festival 2009 720p WEB-DL AAC2.0 H.264-CHDWEB

For the second time in their history, the Berliner Philharmoniker brought a complete cycle of Wagner’s Ring des Nibelungen to a close during summer 2009. After a first production with Herbert von Karajan in the late 1960s, the musicians tackled Wagner’s mammoth work again under Sir Simon Rattle beginning in 2006. Stéphane Braunschweig directed this collaboration between the Salzburg Easter Festival and the Aix-en-Provence Festival.

When the new Ring came to an end with Götterdämmerung in Aix-en-Provence, the international press applauded enthusiastically – particularly for the performance of the orchestra. Le Figaro wrote: “The interpretation of Simon Rattle and his musicians was little short of a miracle. One was overwhelmed by a feast of sound that saturated every pore. The orchestra remained … flexible at all times and conveyed both great tenderness and seismic eruptions. Rattle achieved a flowing interpretation of the drama that captured every nuance of the text with the transparency of chamber music.”

Along with the conductor and orchestra, the superb international ensemble of soloists also thrilled listeners. The Canadian Ben Heppner, who had already sung Tristan with the Berliner Philharmoniker under Claudio Abbado, took the role of Siegfried for the first time in this production and again impressed with his vocal beauty and intelligent interpretation. The Swedish soprano Katarina Dalayman made her Philharmoniker debut as Brünnhilde, while Anne Sofie von Otter, who gave a moving performance as Waltraute, has worked closely with the orchestra for many years. Finally, Mikhail Petrenko presented an intense portrait of the villain Hagen, underscoring his standing as one of the great Russian Wagner singers of his generation.

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Berliner Philharmoniker – A magical Ravel concert with Simon Rattle 2008 720p WEB-DL AAC2.0 H.264-CHDWEB

Like Ravel’s music, the texts by the writer Collette also display an unusual synthesis of cosmopolitanism and innocence. The collaboration of the two artists resulted in the one-act opera L’Enfant et les sortilèges (The Child and the Spells), which depicts the imaginative power of a child from an adult’s perspective, without trivialization, as otherwise perhaps only Schumann’s Kinderszenen (Scenes from Childhood) and Debussy’s Children’s Corner do. Although Colette completed the libretto unusually quickly, Ravel did not finish setting it until after years of painstaking work. The result moved the author of the text to tears at the premiere in 1925 and enchants audiences to this day – despite or precisely because of Ravel’s eclecticism. His adaptation of various musical styles reflects the enthusiasm of a child who uninhibitedly collects the objects that appeal to it.

Sir Simon Rattle already programmed Ravel’s children’s opera, which is not widely known in Germany, during his first season as chief conductor of the Berliner Philharmoniker; a project of the orchestra’s Education Programme was also devoted to the work. For the revival in September 2008 an ensemble of virtuosic singers and actors was again enlisted, headed by mezzo-soprano Magdalena Kožená in the role of the naughty child. The first part of the concert featured Ravel’s orchestral suite Ma Mère l’Oye (Mother Goose), which was originally composed for piano four-hands: music which, according to Ravel, was also intended to evoke “the poetry of childhood”. The work, whose title means roughly “old wives’ tale”, is drawn from various fairy tales, including Sleeping Beauty and Tom Thumb.

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Berliner Philharmoniker, Sir Simon Rattle and Mitsuko Uchida – Beethoven: Piano Concertos 1-5 (2019) [Official Digital Download 24bit/48kHz]

Berliner Philharmoniker, Sir Simon Rattle and Mitsuko Uchida – Beethoven: Piano Concertos 1-5 (2019)
FLAC (tracks) 24 bit/48 kHz | Time – 03:01:23 minutes | 1,67 GB | Genre: Classical
Studio Masters, Official Digital Download | Digital Booklet, Front Cover | © Berlin Philharmonic Orchestra

There is hardly a better way to approach Ludwig van Beethoven than through his piano concertos. Beethoven’s own instrument was the piano, and in his improvisations – which made him the darling of the Viennese salons – he merged virtuosity and unbridled expression. The piano concertos give a clear idea of these performances. At the same time, they are prime examples of Beethoven’s ability to create large orchestral works with seemingly endless arcs of tension.

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Berliner Philharmoniker – New Year’s Eve Concert with Simon Rattle and Menahem Pressler 2014 1080p WEB-DL AAC2.0 H.264-CHDWEB

Pianist Menahem Pressler has made recording and performing history for more than half a century with the Beaux Arts Trio, which he founded in 1955. Pressler was born in Magdeburg in 1923 and fled the National Socialist regime with his family. The grand seigneur of the piano gave his long-overdue debut with the Berliner Philharmoniker in January 2014 with Wolfgang Amadeus Mozart’s Piano Concerto in G major, K. 453. The audience hailed Pressler with a standing ovation; the press raved about the “masterful exhilaration” of his musicality and his “unique tone, as full as it was intimate”.

For his appearance at the 2014 New Year’s Eve Concert in the Philharmonie, Pressler selected Mozart again: the Piano Concerto in A major, K. 488, composed during Mozart’s prime in Vienna and one of his most beautiful contributions to the genre.

The New Year’s Eve Concert opens with Sir Simon Rattle conducting music by Jean-Philippe Rameau: a suite of instrumental pieces from the opéra-ballet Les Indes galantes show French Baroque music at its finest. Following the intermission, the musicians ring in the new year in a lively way with Slavic strains: an orchestral suite from Zoltán Kodály’s charming folk opera Háry János as well as a selection from the popular Slavonic Dances by Antonín Dvořák.

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Berliner Philharmoniker – New Year’s Eve concert with Simon Rattle and Daniil Trifonov 2016 1080p WEB-DL AAC2.0 H.264-CHDWEB

Before the champagne corks popped to celebrate the turn of the year 2016/2017, the audience could experience first-class virtuosic piano playing when Daniil Trifonov stepped up to the podium at the New Year’s Eve concert of the Berliner Philharmoniker. The concert opens with a sparkling comedy overture by the Soviet composer Dmitri Kabalevsky. Since winning the Moscow Tchaikovsky Competition in 2011, the 25-year old musician Trifonov, born like his pianist colleague Igor Levit, four years older, in Nizhny Novgorod (formerly Gorky), has been rated not only one of the technically most formidable but also one of the musically most interesting pianists of the younger generation. After a CD release of his debut in New York’s Carnegie Hall, acclaimed by both critics and the audience, in 2015 Trifonov recorded his interpretations of some of the most challenging works of variations by Sergei Rachmaninov, together with an homage he himself composed to the composer and virtuoso he so admires – and the critics were singing from the treetops (“Hats off to this Rachmaninov!”), sighing (“Do stay a while, moment in sound, you are so beautiful!”) and gushing (“A highly cultivated virtuoso with limitless technical possibilities”).

At his debut with the Berlin Philharmonic, Trifonov also plays a composition by Rachmaninov: the Third Piano Concerto, which many interpreters of the work consider the most difficult piano concerto of all times. The composition is anything but stingy with lyrical passages that give at least the audience time to come up for air before marvelling at the next round of pianistic brilliance. The second part of the New Year’s Eve programme ends with some of the most dashing Slavonic Dances by Antonín Dvořák. Prior to that you can hear excerpts from William Walton’s Façade, which premiered in 1923 – a literary and musical hybrid whose impertinently defiant subtle wit, despite all nonsense, can hardly be better described than with the words “very British”. That the work, which was designated by its authors (the texts are by Edith Sitwell) as “entertainment”, could not be performed by anyone more ingeniously than by Simon Rattle, is obvious. Since “to entertain” means both to invite and to amuse, in just these ways Sir Simon and the Berlin Philharmonic welcome you to their New Year’s Eve concert 2016.

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Berliner Philharmoniker – New Year’s Eve concert with Simon Rattle and Anne-Sophie Mutter 2015 1080p WEB-DL AAC2.0 H.264-CHDWEB

Anne-Sophie Mutter’s phenomenal career is closely tied to the Berliner Philharmoniker: she first performed with the orchestra as a discovery of Herbert von Karajan at the Salzburg Whitsun Festival in 1977 – aged just 13. Only a year later she debuted under Karajan in the Berlin Philharmonie with Mozart’s Violin Concerto in G major K. 216. Since then she has performed the great violin concertos by Beethoven, Bruch, Mendelssohn, Brahms and Dvořák with the Philharmoniker, plus Witold Lutosławski’s Chain II and Sofia Gubaidulina’s Intempus praesens.

At this New Year’s Eve concert, the violinist shines in Camille Saint-Saëns’s thrilling piece Introduction et Rondo Capriccioso and Maurice Ravel’s Tzigane, a highly virtuoso rhapsody for violin and orchestra in which the French composer follows Niccolò Paganini’s virtuoso pieces for violin, striking a folkloristic tone by using the so-called “gypsy scale”.

Sir Simon Rattle and the Berliner Philharmoniker fill the rest of the programme with orchestral pieces and dances from French operas and ballets: the first is the witty and humorous overture to Emmanuel Chabrier’s comic opera L’Étoile, still entirely in the tradition of Offenbach’s operettas. The ballet suite from Jules Massenet’s opera Le Cid conjures up Spanish joie de vivre and their way of life. Francis Poulenc’s dance suite Les Biches, in contrast, whisks you away to the sophisticated, cheerful world of the Jeunesse dorée in the 1920s. Poulenc wrote the work in 1923 for Sergey Diaghilev’s famous Ballets russes and with it achieved his breakthrough as a composer.

The programme culminates in Maurice Ravel’s Poème chorégraphique La Valse, that famous apotheosis of the Viennese waltz that rapidly increases to a grandiose finale. Music just as effervescent and refreshing as champagne – what a way to kick off a festive turn of the year!

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Sir Simon Rattle & London Symphony Orchestra – Haydn: An Imaginary Orchestral Journey (2018) [Official Digital Download DSF DSD64/2.82MHz + FLAC 24bit/96kHz]

Simon Rattle, London Symphony Orchestra – Haydn: An Imaginary Orchestral Journey (2018)
DSD64 (.dsf) 1 bit/2,8 MHz | Time – 51:27 minutes | 2,04 GB
FLAC (tracks) 24 bit/96 kHz | Time – 51:27 minutes | 1, GB
Studio Master, Official Digital Download | Artwork: Digital booklet

Sir Simon Rattle pays homage to a composer he holds close to his heart with An Imaginary Orchestral Journey through the music of Joseph Haydn. Rattle trawls through the great composer’s impressive catalogue, piecing together excerpts from symphonies, oratorios and operas spanning a 40-year period in what the director describes as ‘a kind of greatest hits’ format.

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Berliner Philharmoniker – Murray Perahia and Simon Rattle with Schumann’s Piano Concerto 2012 1080p WEB-DL AAC2.0 H.264-CHDWEB

“The soul of a poet, the mind of a thinker, the hands of a virtuoso,” was how an American critic succinctly and accurately described the qualities of Murray Perahia. As the Berliner Philharmoniker’s Pianist in Residence for the 2011/2012 season, he appeared regularly in solo and chamber concerts in Berlin. An outstanding event of this partnership was Perahia’s guest appearance at this orchestral concert in which he performed Robert Schumann’s Piano Concerto together with Sir Simon Rattle.

Perahia’s rank as one of the great poets among the pianists of our time is impressively revealed in this work, where melodic playing, gentle story-telling and Romantic rhapsodising are in the foreground, rather than the traditional contrast of clearly contoured themes. Schumann’s Nachtlied for choir and orchestra inhabits a similar world of expression – and in contrast to the popular piano concerto, this piece is a real discovery, full of drama and transcendency.

The concert’s more recent works also have a nocturnal hue. E vó und O King by Luciano Berio are subdued laments; in the first piece, a lullaby is sung to a murdered child, and in the latter, Berio mourns the assassination of Martin Luther King. The concert closes with Gabriel Fauré’s Requiem. Infused with delicate melancholy, it culminates in a sunny vision of paradise – and the promise that even the darkest night is always followed by the dawn.

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Berliner Philharmoniker – Mozart’s “Magic Flute” from Baden-Baden 2013 1080p WEB-DL AAC2.0 H.264-CHDWEB

Outstanding singers, star director Robert Carsen, and the Berliner Philharmoniker under the direction of chief conductor Sir Simon Rattle: It was in every respect a memorable performance of Mozart’s Magic Flute with which the Berliner Philharmoniker opened their Easter Festival in Baden-Baden in March 2013.

The Canadian Robert Carsen has directed productions for almost every major opera house. He is fascinated by the complexities in the Magic Flute: “It is completely designed around opposites. Day and night, love and hate, man and woman, the hero Tamino and the simple Papageno.” Musically, too, the Magic Flute has an infinite variety – and given the immense popularity of the opera, this wealth is often overlooked. Sir Simon Rattle says: “Let’s not forget what a raging masterpiece the Magic Flute is, and how different it was from anything anybody had done before – even Mozart.”

The Financial Times spoke of a “top-drawer cast”: “Pavol Breslik is all you could wish for in a Tamino, Michael Nagy’s Papageno is charismatic and lithe, Kate Royal gives Pamina subtle complexity as well as grace.” Then there is the added attraction of a special première: the orchestra had never performed the opera live and in its entirety before. Only three studio recordings – under Sir Thomas Beecham in the 30s, Karl Böhm in the 60s, and Herbert von Karajan in the 80s – were previously released. A grand tradition which is continued with this recording.

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Berliner Philharmoniker – Simon Rattle conducts Messiaen’s “Turangalîla-Symphonie 2008 720p WEB-DL AAC2.0 H.264-CHDWEB

Hardly any other composer combines as many contradicting elements in his works as Olivier Messiaen. Inertia and dynamic force, deep piety and passionate sensuality, highly complex rhythmic structures and exuberant melodies, esoteric design principles and tremendous popular appeal are juxtaposed in his music. Messiaen is thus regarded as the most important French composer between Claude Debussy and Pierre Boulez, who studied with him.

The Turangalîla-Symphonie, the premiere of which was conducted by Leonard Bernstein in Boston in 1948, is Messiaen’s best-known work and features an ensemble typical of him. The large, dazzling symphony orchestra is augmented by an often percussive piano and the distinctively iridescent sounds of the ondes Martenot, one of the first electronic musical instruments.

The symphony, whose title comes from ancient Indian Sanskrit, comprises ten movements connected by recurring themes and depicts Messiaen’s exploration of a love that exceeds all earthly limits and leads to death. It is the central instrumental work of the composer’s Tristan trilogy and is framed by two vocal works. In this concert from September 2008 Sir Simon Rattle and the Berliner Philharmoniker prefaced the work with the orchestral version of the Prelude and Liebestod from Wagner’s opera Tristan und Isolde. The concert took place during the Berlin Musikfest, which devoted one of its programmatic focusses to Messiaen, marking the 100th anniversary of his birth.

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